Purpose: Globally, acute abdominal pain (AAP) is one of the most common reasons for emergency admissions, yet little is known about how this patient group experiences the delivery of fundamental care across the acute care delivery chain. The purpose of this paper is to describe how patients with AAP experienced fundamental care across their acute care presentation, and to explicate the health professional behaviours, reported by patients, that contributed to their positive experiences. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative descriptive study, using repeated reflective interviews, was analysed thematically (n=10 patients). Findings: Two themes were identified: developing genuine, caring relationships with health professionals and being informed about one’s care. Patients reported that health professionals established genuine professional–patient relationships despite the busy care environment but perceived this environment as impeding information-provision. Patients were typically accepting of a lack of information, whereas poor professional–patient relationships were seen as inexcusable. Practical implications: To provide positive fundamental care experiences for patients with AAP, health professionals should establish caring relationships with patients, such as by using humour, being attentive, and acknowledging patients’ physical pain and emotional distress; and should inform patients about their care, including allowing patients to ask questions and taking time to answer those questions. Originality/value: This is the first Australian study to explore the experiences of patients with AAP across the acute care delivery chain, using a novel method of repeated interviews, and to demonstrate how fundamental care can be delivered, in clinical practice, to ensure positive patient experiences.
- Patient care
- Qualitative research